CDC Reaching Healthcare Professionals in the Prevention of FASD
NASW and UT Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work will continue as social work partners in CDC’s cross-discipline Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy with a new four-year CDC grant (2018-2022) focused on primary prevention in health practice. High-risk and binge drinking rates among U.S. women have increased significantly over recent years, with 1-in-10 women now drinking at excessive levels linked to alcohol-related health risks, injuries, and chronic conditions. At the same time, up to 5% of U.S. school children are living with the effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, a group of permanent — yet preventable—conditions caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. The patterns of alcohol risk behaviors among women in concert with the alarming prevalence of FASD highlight the critical public health need for a cross-discipline prevention approach.
Under this new CDC grant, our social work team will work with the Collaborative to identify and address gaps in health professionals’ information and continuing education needs regarding risky alcohol use, alcohol use during pregnancy, and alcohol screening, and brief intervention for primary prevention.
NASW will facilitate CDC’s efforts to reach a national audience of social work practitioners serving women in primary care settings. In the project’s first phase, NASW will conduct a membership survey assessing attitudes, practices, and continuing education needs around the topic of risky alcohol use and alcohol use during pregnancy. Using survey data to inform design of subsequent activities, NASW will work with UT Austin to develop and distribute materials, resources, and messaging incorporating CDC’s science-based content via NASW’s online and print communications and programming. NASW will also advise on development of a social work Champions network to increase FASD awareness.
NASW is pleased to continue working in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and others in CDC’s Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy to address a significant public health issue that affects women and families across practices and systems of care.